Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Memory of Blood: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery” as Want to Read:
The Memory of Blood: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Memory of Blood: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery (Bryant and May #9)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,589 Ratings  ·  221 Reviews
Christopher Fowler’s acclaimed Peculiar Crimes Unit novels crackle with sly wit, lively suspense, and twists as chilling as London’s fog. Now the indomitable duo of Arthur Bryant and John May, along with the rest of their quirky team, return to solve a confounding case with dark ties to the British theater and a killer who may mean curtains for all involved.

For the crew of
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Bantam (first published January 1st 2011)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Memory of Blood, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Memory of Blood

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This may be my favorite of the Peculiar Crime Unit series books yet. A locked room crime. The London theater world and the ultra rich. A gorey and sex filled play. Oh so many things to consider. Once again Arthur Bryant and John May lead their cohorts into a battle of sorts to find a killer. And now they are operating in high social circles which might impede an investigation.

There were areas of London society where even the law
was powerless. The gap between rich and poor was not just
one of w
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, detective, 2013, 2015
Review fro Badelynge.
Christopher Fowler's wonderful creations, elderly detectives Bryant and May and the Peculiar Crimes Unit are called in to investigate the brutal killing of a young baby taken from its cot in a locked room, shaken to death and callously thrown out the window. And on the floor next to the cot lies a life size Mr Punch doll. As ever Bryant dives into the esoteric aspects of the case while May employs solid police work. The book kicks off with some documents detailing the histor
Jill Hutchinson
I am determined to read all the Bryant and May Peculiar Crimes Unit books!! This series is so delightful and is somewhat like the Nero Wolfe books in that the story is secondary to the perfectly drawn characters. The author is a master of the ingenious and slightly cock-eyed style of writing that makes each book a joy even if the plot is totally insane and could never happen in the real world.

In this book, the Peculiar Crimes Unit is called into a case which seems to revolve around the historic
ehhhhhhhhh, it was cute but ... i think what happens with some of these series mysteries is that once you get past the initial surprise and delight of the funny characters and situations they start to feel empty. I felt that way with the fourth Flavia De Luce and I've felt that way with the past couple Bryant and Mays. And there used to be more character development in the early books, this one is just kind of a silly plot with nothing much else.
Peter Auber
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy Davie
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, history
Ninth in the Bryant & May quirky mystery series set in London and revolving around two detectives who should have retired years ago.

My Take
It's a dive into the history of Punch and Judy theatre, and it's fascinating as Salterton takes us back into its origins and purpose as well as who the cast is actually meant to represent. There's also a brief foray into censorship in London theatres by the Lord Chamberlain and historic bits of stage magic. It's very much like today when a new bit of tech
Sep 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016
The Peculiar Crimes Unit delves into the world of the theatre as they investigate the death of a baby removed from his cot, strangled and thrown out of the window of a room locked from the inside while downstairs the launch party for a new play has assembled numerous members of a theatre company, all of whom are now suspects. Examining the body and what little evidence was left behind, it soon becomes apparent that the crime scene was an elaborately staged display meant to indicate that the chil ...more
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this mystery, felt it was one of the better ones, EXCEPT for a baby getting killed. I found that very disturbing, thus the lack of more stars.

I enjoyed the history behind the Punch and Judy and the history of London Theater.Madame Blavatsky was a hoot. My favorite quote in the book was one of her fortunes: Nobody Does Yoga in Wales.

There was also another murder not really relating to the case. It is a definitely to be continued thread.
First Sentence: The following undated document appeared on Wikileaks and is now the subject of a government investigation.

During the cast party, someone has murdered the theater owner’s infant son. The bedroom is locked from the inside and neither blood nor fingerprints are found; only the life-sized puppet of Mr. Punch, lying on the floor.

A cast of characters is always helpful, but usually not very inventive. From Page One, it is clear this will not be your usual read with your usual character
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading this for the second time to put it into the sequence properly.I'll review it again later.
Well, the third time, then.
Puppets are always a little disturbing, like clowns. We don't have the tradition of Punch and Judy here, perhaps because we don't have entertainments on our beaches, not even donkey rides. Funny that.
In this series something may look eerie or supernatural but it is finally explained in "normal" terms, so we don't really believe that Mr. Punch could have killed the baby
Stuart Nager
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read in the series (#8), and I enjoyed it enough to now go and start from the beginning.

Two seemingly doddering detectives in London head up the PCU (peculiar crimes unit): Bryant (a real eccentric) and May. This murder mystery is set in the world of London Theater and puppetry, two things that I'm very interested in, so that is what interested me in the first place.

There are enough twists and turns, and non-linear thinking, leading to the end, that it kept me engro
May 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought hooray, another Peculiar Crimes Unit book to take away the taste of stupid formula thrillers and self-righteous political preaching masquerading as novels.

Seriously. I'm having a good baseball season and a really good trout season, but reading season has been rough lately.

Anyway, I'm giving this one four stars mostly out of loyalty to Mr. Fowler, who stubbornly insists on writing books for adults. (As opposed to adult books, which nobody does anymore. Alas.)

It's a little creaky. The ma
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fiction, series
A good enough locked-room mystery with some interesting history of Punch & Judy but perhaps a little less quirky than some other books in the series. The absence of Edna Wagstaff is made up for by the presence of Madame Blavatsky. There were also very few dictionary words in this book. What's more, a couple words that would have qualified as dictionary words were discussed by the characters in the book in such a way as to supply the reader with a definition. How wimpy is that? So I was left ...more
Steven D
Feb 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Fowler's books. They always have a love of London (my home town) and London history/lore. This one has more of English cultural history as opposed to just London history. Bryant and May are wonderfully developed characters. Their relationship is one of long standing friendship that goes back over decades. It shows differently in this book than others in the series. Somehow more restrained, more trust between them. Anyway, I'm a fan so can't help but love the stories.
Jan Edwards
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another chapter in the Peculiar Crimes Unit files. Eccentric detectives follow up on crimes with a supernatural twist.

The most refreshing thing about these investigators is their lack of baggage. Eccentric they may be - but they get on with the job in hand without the emotional setbacks so many fictional sleuths seem obliged to cart around with them.

Christopher Fowler writes as always with such style, humour and amazing skill.
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
not as quirky,or outlandish as some of the earlier books, in fact there seemed to be very little of the usual odd goings on... but still a great story, with two of my favourite characters... who get better with each book.
a simple who dunnit really, with small list of suspects, but the reveal as always comes with those tiny clues I never, as the reader, pick up on.
looking forward to next one.
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Memory of Blood is a smart, well written mystery with a kooky cast of characters. PCU is brought in on the case when a murder takes place behind a locked door and an antique Punch Doll is the only evidence left at the scene. The story is peppered with intriguing plot twists and plenty of red herrings to keep
the reader engaged. I definitely recommend this book if you enjoy mysteries.
Pamela Mclaren
Another fun, quick read by Christopher Fowler, who can make two geriatric policemen quirky and smart. As usual they are trying to solve a murder that turns into four, while threatened with extinction of the Peculiar Crimes Unit. Funny and witty.
A classic murder in a locked room plot, in a theatrical context. But definitely Meh! Only 2.5 stars because I'm (still) tiring of the characters and because, after multiple red herrings, the final outcome comes in a rush in chapter 49, falling completely flat, since the explanations are so tenuous.
Sep 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
It almost took me whole year to finish this book! I just did not like it!!! Its not that it was poorly written, its just it was not the book for me! It felt really slow paced and I didn't care much for any of the characters! Sorry Mr. Christopher Fowler, I tried!
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Reliably brilliant, full of wit, character and a love of the bizarre and macabre.
Alicia Harabin
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not the most complex of plots or suspenseful apprehensions, but interesting characters and plenty of fun Punch and Judy history. Another thoroughly enjoyable Bryant and May adventure.
Derek Durant
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I've read in this series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will look forward to reading the rest of the titles featuring the classic characters of Bryant & May.

Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: whodunnit
The first one I read and got me hooked on the author and this whole series. Highly recommend.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Peculiar Crimes Unit solves another strange mystery in their own special way. Most of the credit (as if often the case) goes to Arthur Bryant, but he has plenty of help. This story focuses on the people involved in a new play, which brings additional odd characters into the book. Entertaining, funny and clever.
May 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
British mysteries are my guilty pleasure. The Bryant and May books rank high on my list because I love all of the obscure and semi-obscure history featured in them. This particular book set me down a days long path learning more about the origins of Punch and Judy. While the books themselves are enjoyable, what I love even more is learning more about the history of London.
Jody Hamilton
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Bryant and May books are always so entertaining. They are true gifts.
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
FUN! I really enjoyed this one. Interesting characters, quirks and good humor.
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First one that I've read of this mystery series. Very good if you are a mystery buff. Will read more in the series.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Eleven Pipers Piping (Father Christmas Mystery #2)
  • The Fabulous Clipjoint
  • The Shadow of the Soul (The Dog-Faced Gods, #2)
  • Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses (Dandy Gilver, #7)
  • Love Songs from a Shallow Grave (Dr. Siri Paiboun, #7)
  • The Singapore School of Villainy (Inspector Singh Investigates #3)
  • A Fatal Winter (Max Tudor #2)
  • Goodnight Sweet Prince (Lord Francis Powerscourt, #1)
  • On Guard for Thee (War and Strife in 1812)
  • Mrs. Malory and a Necessary End
  • The Devil's Seal (Sister Fidelma, #25)
  • The Bad Book Affair (Mobile Library Mystery, #4)
  • The Secret Hangman (Peter Diamond, #9)
  • Thirteen Million Dollar Pop (Frank Behr, #3)
  • The Man Who Killed His Brother
  • The Emperor's Assassin (Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner #2)
  • Fatal Frost (Detective Jack Frost Prequel, #2)
  • The Flesh Tailor (Wesley Peterson, #14)
Christopher Fowler is an English novelist living in London, his books contain elements of black comedy, anxiety and social satire. As well as novels, he writes short stories, scripts, press articles and reviews.

He lives in King's Cross, on the Battlebridge Basin, and chooses London as the backdrop of many of his stories because any one of the events in its two thousand year history can provide ins
More about Christopher Fowler...

Other Books in the Series

Bryant and May (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Full Dark House (Bryant & May, #1)
  • The Water Room (Bryant & May, #2)
  • Seventy-Seven Clocks (Bryant & May, #3)
  • Ten Second Staircase (Bryant & May, #4)
  • White Corridor (Bryant & May, #5)
  • The Victoria Vanishes (Bryant & May, #6)
  • On the Loose (Bryant & May, #7)
  • Off the Rails (Bryant & May, #8)
  • The Invisible Code (Bryant & May #10)
  • Bryant & May and the Bleeding Heart (Bryant & May, #11)
“Clutter, either mental or physical, is the sign of a healthy curiosity.” 21 likes
“The true mark of English conversation is not being able to tell when you've been insulted. I think the more sophisticated society becomes, the more it hides behind the masks it manufactures.” 5 likes
More quotes…